SCELZI NO. 3 IN RAIN-SHORTENED BRISTOL QUALIFYING BRISTOL, Tenn. (April 30, 2005) - Rain showers shortened qualifying sessions to only one for Sunday's O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, and Gary Scelzi made the best of it by...
SCELZI NO. 3 IN RAIN-SHORTENED BRISTOL QUALIFYING
BRISTOL, Tenn. (April 30, 2005) - Rain showers shortened qualifying sessions to only one for Sunday's O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, and Gary Scelzi made the best of it by qualifying No. 3 in the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Stratus Funny Car.
Scelzi recorded a stout 4.814-second pass at 322.19 mph before the rains cancelled a second session today. Friday's qualifying was a complete washout. With only one session completed, the NHRA set the field by assuring the top 10 in points a place in the field, with the rest of the field made up of those who qualified today. This is only the second time in NHRA history that this rule was applied; the first was at the World Finals in 2002.
"I was very impressed with (crew chief) Mike Neff," said Scelzi, eighth in points. "We learned some stuff in Vegas testing on Monday after the event (two weeks ago). Mike was pretty confident that the Mopar/Oakley Dodge was going to go down the race track and run a mid- to low 4.80. We've been thinking we were really close to that all along.
"It was actually the first time all year that we put the car deep into the show on the first run, which would have given us our shot in the night run to go on the pole.
"But, since we had bad weather, we didn't have a second session. But I'm very excited. I'm very proud of these guys for doing such a great job. We've had a car to beat all year long. No matter what's happened through qualifying, we've had one of the quickest cars out here, but we just haven't had any luck. We're still one of the quickest cars; I don't see why that should change for tomorrow.
"Should it be overcast, the track should be tight, and I think we can run 4.80s all day long and maybe even some high .70s.
"I'm not worried about having just the one round of qualifying. I'd like to have had at least two shots to be able to find out where we can't go. You know what, we just won't go to the unknown. We'll try to keep this thing under control, run low .80s and take it a round at a time, and hopefully when we're done, Scelzi will have Bristol."
Bristol is one of only four NHRA pro tracks at which Scelzi has not won in his successful NHRA pro career.
Scelzi faces Gary Densham in the first round of eliminations on Sunday, which begin at noon.